Disparity of force issue

This is a discussion on Disparity of force issue within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, I'm going to open my life up a little. I have been losing sleep over this and need some clarification. I have a medical ...

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Thread: Disparity of force issue

  1. #1
    Member Array Jerbear1098's Avatar
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    Disparity of force issue

    Ok, I'm going to open my life up a little. I have been losing sleep over this and need some clarification.

    I have a medical ID for EMT's to know they need to use a fiber optic intubation method if I go down. Due to some severe spinal cord issues and surgeries, left shoulder, both hips replaced and possible replacement of knees now, I don't have the luxury of flight. I have been told that if I receive a blow to the head causing whiplash, I may be a quadriplegic or even death. I have taken several measures to do my best not to get into a situation like this.

    Scenario... I'm with my wife somewhere and someone bigger than myself (I'm 5'7" 168lbs) gets into my face for no reason. I have never been more polite than since I started carrying. I have done some training with situational awareness, pepper spray, and tactical training with my firearm. I'm lucky I guess, the range I go to allows us to draw from our holster and the range officers are either retired Leo's or military. They have been a great help in my situation.

    Here is the steps I have concluded I need to take to save walking on two feet or from death.

    I try to be nice to everyone and pray to God, I never have to draw my firearm in self defense. So if the inevitable was to occur, here is what I hope would work.

    1) Defuse the situation with talking to the person and try to calm them down. Upon seeing that won't work, call 911 and leave the line open. Yell commands to him/them that I have called 911 and that I'm in fear of my life and to leave me alone. Yell his description out so the 911 operator can get it on tape. Tattoos, scars, teeth missing, ect... I have learned in some classes that clothing can be discarded fast so look for permanent markings first, then clothing.

    2) If unsuccessful in that attempt, I carry Sabre Red pepper Spray to rake the eyes, nose and mouth. I have trained with this to some extent and even sprayed some to test it on myself. Short burst into the ground and walk into the cloud. Eyes, throat and sinuses immediately started to close and water. I cannot run so this may give my time to get away and continue the 911 call. Hopefully the assailant is down or at the very least, can't see me to attack.

    3) This is were the disparity of force comes in, I know that I MAY be a quad or even dead, if I take a blow to the head, but the attacker doesn't. He is unarmed except for his size and fist. As means of last resort. Would I be justified in drawing my firearm and shoot to stop the threat?

    I have lost alot of sleep over this and even with the situational awareness classes and other articles I have read on the net and elsewhere, I still have trouble with this issue.

    Thanks for your time and input.

    I have asked my attorney and all he could say was "depends". I understand his answer due to many factors. Witnesses, location ect...

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array tinkerinWstuff's Avatar
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    At the end of the day, only you know if you are afraid for your life. If your options are death/extreme injury, or life as you know it..... only you can make that choice. And like everything else in life, you have to accept the consiquences that come with your decisions.

    If the concesus here becomes, "you'll go to jail" would it stop you from protecting yourself and accept death?
    "Run for your life from the man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another-their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    If an incident such as you describe happens it might look bad for you initially. I think you would ultimately prevail but it might be expensive. The question is would the police or the prosecutor bother investigating your medical history and decline to charge/prosecute or let you and your attorney bring it up at trial as your defense.
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    Member Array Jerbear1098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerinWstuff View Post
    At the end of the day, only you know if you are afraid for your life. If your options are death/extreme injury, or life as you know it..... only you can make that choice. And like everything else in life, you have to accept the consiquences that come with your decisions.

    If the concesus here becomes, "you'll go to jail" would it stop you from protecting yourself and accept death?
    Very good question and I have been thinking about that for awhile as well. I have a wife and kids and don't want to end up in prison for some ones stupidity. The neighborhood has changed drastically and the element that has moved in, are less than desirable. Damn those sub prime loans...

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    Ex Member Array Acecool's Avatar
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    You are allowed to use force if you feel you are in imminent danger of greater bodily injury or even death... I would say in your situation you would be authorized to draw your firearm if a guy comes after you with his fists.

    Keep your medical records handy if it ever comes to that so they know that any blow to the head could leave you paralyzed or dead!!!

    Make sure you wear a medical wristband (maybe not a good idea, maybe it is, not sure... discuss..)

    These are just my opinions, double check with your state law and triple check with your local pd :-)

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    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    In FL the issue is are you in fear of death or grave bodily injury?

    Are YOU in fear...? Obviously someone who is attacking you is not in fear of or for what is about to happen to you.

    So...
    I would make darn sure that my attorney would hammer that home.
    YOU were in fear. Here is why. Then, make the connection to disparity of force...like an older person cannot reasonably be expected to compete against a younger person, so a person with these particular physical dis-abilities could not reasonably be expected to compete against someone able-bodied.

    Any reasonable person would understand the fear for life and limb that you experienced during this traumatic event.

    It is the stupidity of poorly written laws.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerbear1098 View Post
    Ok, I'm going to open my life up a little. I have been losing sleep over this and need some clarification.

    I have a medical ID for EMT's to know they need to use a fiber optic intubation method if I go down. Due to some severe spinal cord issues and surgeries, left shoulder, both hips replaced and possible replacement of knees now, I don't have the luxury of flight. I have been told that if I receive a blow to the head causing whiplash, I may be a quadriplegic or even death. I have taken several measures to do my best not to get into a situation like this.

    Scenario... I'm with my wife somewhere and someone bigger than myself (I'm 5'7" 168lbs) gets into my face for no reason. I have never been more polite than since I started carrying. I have done some training with situational awareness, pepper spray, and tactical training with my firearm. I'm lucky I guess, the range I go to allows us to draw from our holster and the range officers are either retired Leo's or military. They have been a great help in my situation.

    Here is the steps I have concluded I need to take to save walking on two feet or from death.

    I try to be nice to everyone and pray to God, I never have to draw my firearm in self defense. So if the inevitable was to occur, here is what I hope would work.

    1) Defuse the situation with talking to the person and try to calm them down. Upon seeing that won't work, call 911 and leave the line open. Yell commands to him/them that I have called 911 and that I'm in fear of my life and to leave me alone. Yell his description out so the 911 operator can get it on tape. Tattoos, scars, teeth missing, ect... I have learned in some classes that clothing can be discarded fast so look for permanent markings first, then clothing.

    2) If unsuccessful in that attempt, I carry Sabre Red pepper Spray to rake the eyes, nose and mouth. I have trained with this to some extent and even sprayed some to test it on myself. Short burst into the ground and walk into the cloud. Eyes, throat and sinuses immediately started to close and water. I cannot run so this may give my time to get away and continue the 911 call. Hopefully the assailant is down or at the very least, can't see me to attack.

    3) This is were the disparity of force comes in, I know that I MAY be a quad or even dead, if I take a blow to the head, but the attacker doesn't. He is unarmed except for his size and fist. As means of last resort. Would I be justified in drawing my firearm and shoot to stop the threat?

    I have lost alot of sleep over this and even with the situational awareness classes and other articles I have read on the net and elsewhere, I still have trouble with this issue.

    Thanks for your time and input.

    I have asked my attorney and all he could say was "depends". I understand his answer due to many factors. Witnesses, location ect...
    Being from Michigan, here is the way I understand the Michigan SD laws. If you feel that you are being threatend with grave physical harm, injury or death then you are justified in using a weapon. The Prosecuting Attorney that did our legal section of the CCW class said that if you are reasonably afraid and especially if you make every attempt to defuse the situation then there is very little chance of being prosecuted. They have actually even removed the section of the law that used to state that another person in the same situation would be in fear of injury or death. It is now IF YOU are in fear of injury or death.
    At least that is the way I understood it. I'm not a laywer or a LEO.

    did some more checking, this is from the Michigan State Police web site concerning the SD law of 2006 (MICHIGAN ONLY!)

    Public Acts 309 – 314 of 2006 comprise the “Self-Defense Act.” The Act affects criminal and civil liability for those who use force to defend themselves or others. Prior to this Act, the law of self-defense was gleaned primarily from the common law (judge-made law).
    General Provisions of the Act
    A person may use deadly force with no duty to retreat if (PA 309):
    1. They are not engaged in a crime
    2. They are in a place they have a legal right to be
    3. They honestly and reasonably believe deadly force is necessary
    4. The deadly force is used to prevent imminent death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault of the person or another
    Last edited by TedBeau; February 26th, 2009 at 10:00 AM. Reason: additional information

  9. #8
    Member Array ImaShepardRU's Avatar
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    Not to be flip, but; the old adage of 'Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6', might apply.
    As others have said it will be expensive, but unfortunately as MiklColt said, poorly written laws don't help. Neither does a society in which you can be judged not criminally liable for your actions, (no law was broken and your response was justified) but still be held civilly liable.
    A good idea might be to check into the legal 'insurance' available from the NRA in the event you are ever in such a situation and find yourself being sued.
    I feel; (OMO) Your first responsibility is the safety of your loved ones, then your own safety, then that of others.
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    The purpose of fighting is to win.
    There is no possible victory in defense.
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerbear1098 View Post
    3) This is were the disparity of force comes in, I know that I MAY be a quad or even dead, if I take a blow to the head, but the attacker doesn't. He is unarmed except for his size and fist. As means of last resort. Would I be justified in drawing my firearm and shoot to stop the threat?

    I have lost alot of sleep over this and even with the situational awareness classes and other articles I have read on the net and elsewhere, I still have trouble with this issue.

    Thanks for your time and input.

    I have asked my attorney and all he could say was "depends". I understand his answer due to many factors. Witnesses, location ect...
    The offender doesn't even need to be "bigger", simply overtly, offensively agressive. Just as it is not possible for you to use the dead offender's prior history of murder and assault with a deadly weapon as legitimate grounds to shoot him, he/his attorney/the DA cannot say you used excessive force because the offender was not aware of your condition.

    I use imperatives, above. Truly, with an agressive DA, with white/minority interaction, with adult/youth interaction, as your attorney indicates, "it depends..." I would say your force continuium is on target and more than reasonable. Simply be aware that as "unfair" as the assault was to you, the legal system may be no better.

    My perspective on this has always been, "I am a productive, responsible member of society. If society revokes my status as a full citizen for taking reasonable action to preserve life and limb, I can play the other side of the fence just as well." Your condition is more physically limiting, however, so...

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    IANAL and I know squat about Michigan Laws, but I would think that with your medical history, you should not have a problem establishing Reasonable Fear provided you tried your very best to avoid or defuse the confrontation.
    Scenario... I'm with my wife somewhere and someone bigger than myself (I'm 5'7" 168lbs) gets into my face.
    Getting in your face does NOT give you the automatic right of SD. If the guy is just hollering "Michigan State Sucks!" there is no reasonable fear there. If the guy is screaming "I am gonna kill ya!" then you have a cause.

    Now (and again in this particular case) your wife is the one that should be calling 911, not you! Your attention must be 100% on the target and not fumbling around with the cellphone, specially in view of your condition. You messing with the cellphone can make the BG more ticked off than he is and attack you when you are trying to dial. Your wife can call while you make the BG keep his attention on you.
    Just my humble opinion
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
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  12. #11
    Member Array Jerbear1098's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm sure someone else may be in the same situation I am in. At 48 and arthritis that has set in all over, I don't move well. On good days I limp and bad days I walk with a cane. That is why I wanted 911 on the line asap, to record the events in real time. Maybe in time for PD to show up, but I can't take that chance.

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    I am in Ohio - the legal part of my CCW class was taught by an attorney that works hard here to get better laws for us. He KNOWS our laws. I actually traveled quite a distance to take this class so I could speak to him about a couple issues - and this was one of them.

    I have a nerve disease. I limp, I can't run, I am weak, could not hit someone if I tried. If someone hit me - broke a bone for instance, the pain of that break would be with me for life. I broke my foot 9 years ago, and my brain still thinks the bone is broken with every step. It's a very rare, very odd disease and excruciatingly painful. It is extremely important that I avoid all injury... even getting blood drawn could cause an issue. I also have a neck problem that makes me more likely to get a broken neck - could be the same issue you have. So I have to live a very careful life.

    The attorney said I would be termed legally a "brittle person"... and would be given more leeway than a healthy person my age (50). The fear of great bodily harm means a totally different thing to me than the average person. I said to him - how would a bad guy be expected to know that he is picking on a person like me, rather than an average person - he said "to bad - that's the luck of the draw".

    I do have a handicapped sticker, which I didn't really want, but he advised me to think about getting, as it helps back me up. My doctor had no problem with it at all. I was just being stubborn about it... not wanting to admit to being bad enough to need one.

    My problem would be that my disease is SO rare, that providing proper documentation in a court may be difficult.

    My weakness, and inability to defend myself was the #1 reason I got my CCW. My Smith makes me equal to that hoodlum wanting to take my medications when I am coming out of CVS, or take my purse, or steal my car. Or just beat up on a limping woman for the heck of it.
    Last edited by Scott; February 27th, 2009 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Member's request

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    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    According to Michigan law I would say you do have the right to protect yourself as you describe.
    Something I might consider if I were you is to find an attorney you trust, just in case you may someday need those services. Make him aware of your health issues. I would keep a complete copy of your medical records in a place that your family could easily access to give to the attorney is you were ever to be prosecuted for doing what Michigan gives you the right to do.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    Senior Member Array ErikGr7's Avatar
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    I read your thread. To be honest I can't think of what I would do either. On one hand you have a medical condition that the BG does not know about and in a robbery he might try to knock you down with force. The other side of the coin is bad too...

    Not an easy call at all.

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    IANAL and I know squat about Michigan Laws, but I would think that with your medical history, you should not have a problem establishing Reasonable Fear provided you tried your very best to avoid or defuse the confrontation.


    Getting in your face does NOT give you the automatic right of SD. If the guy is just hollering "Michigan State Sucks!" there is no reasonable fear there. If the guy is screaming "I am gonna kill ya!" then you have a cause.

    Now (and again in this particular case) your wife is the one that should be calling 911, not you! Your attention must be 100% on the target and not fumbling around with the cellphone, specially in view of your condition. You messing with the cellphone can make the BG more ticked off than he is and attack you when you are trying to dial. Your wife can call while you make the BG keep his attention on you.
    Just my humble opinion

    +1 Miggy on having the wife call, if alone I wouold not attempt to call unless I was ABSOLUTLY sure I could do so without putting myself at greater risk from the agressor. Given that most SD situation happen at breakneck speed and are over in a flash dialing 911 might not be your first response. Secure yourself, then call for police.

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